Best Of The Back-Ups
In 2021 62 quarterbacks started an NFL game. In 2020, 59 quarterbacks started games. 57 in 2019 and around 70 in 2018. There are only 32 NFL teams. With that in mind, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the backup quarterbacks and what to expect from them. Some of these quarterbacks will be players you might want to draft late to stash because they have a high chance of playing. Some of them are names you need to know mid-season and pick up a week early before the bye week and likely quarterback switch. Others will be good names to know when those injuries happen and others are trying to find a name and you will already know it and whether to put in a claim or avoid it. I have ranked each quarterback two ways.
First I give them a letter grade on the possibility and opportunity of them starting during the season. I give you who I believe is the starter and the backup for each team.
A– Very high change they start. Around 85%. Usually high draft-capital rookies that are the air apparent. Not a matter of if, but when
B– High chance they start. Around 60%. Usually, young quarterbacks who might take over for veterans who have a history of poor play
C– Unlikely but not out of the questions they start. Around a 25% chance. The guy in front of them either has an injury history or its a change due to poor play
D– Highly unlikely they start without an injury in front of them. 10% chance. The starter is a stud and only an injury will give the backup a shot. Even with poor play the team has invested in them and will ride it out.
Next, I rate them on their fantasy impact if they do start. Ranking them 1-4. I go off the actual quarterback’s abilities, the team they have around them, and if they fit the system or how the system will change with them starting.
1– Solid QB1. They have the talent to be a starter and they have a team around them that will help make up for any deficiencies they have
2– Solid QB2- They either lack the talent or don’t have a solid team around them but they can still score points when called upon.
3– Streamer only- They have some skills and a good team around them. They will need a good matchup to be viable for your starting lineup
4– Avoid- They don’t have much talent or are unproven talent and the team around them is below average. even in a good matchup, they might not do well.
The backup quarterbacks are broken down by division for ease of finding. The best backups will be rated an A1 and the worst would be a D4. Let’s take a look at the backups and how they shake out.
Chad Henne (Kansas City Chiefs) D3
Opportunity – Will the Chiefs ever bench Patrick Mahomes? No, unless it’s a blowout win and they just want Chad Henne to hand the ball off and take kneel-downs. No real chance that Henne sees any significant meaningful playing time outside of an injury and Mahomes has only missed 3 games in his 4 years as a starter and one of those was a last week of the season benching to prepare for the playoffs. Shane Buechele is the 3rd string guy.
Talent – If Henne were in a place where he was going to get the call to be the starter the offense might struggle. In his 5th year as Mahomes back up he knows the system and can execute the play calls but will probably struggle to execute them on the field. He has only 2 touchdown passes in the past seven years. in his 14-year career, he has never had a season with more touchdowns than interceptions. On a team that has some weapons in the passing game he could do alright dumping the ball off but he lacks the deep ball, which is one of the areas KC excels in. Henne would be bottom of the barrel if not for the likes of Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster allowing him to make short throws and gain yards after the catch.
Brett Rypien (Denver Broncos) C4
Opportunity – Brett Rypien played well enough to let the Broncos cut Josh Johnson. He saw his shot at a starting job in Denver dashed when the Broncos brought in Russell Wilson to take over the offense. Wilson did miss games for the first time in his 10-year career last season. It’s not something we are used to seeing with Russ but at age 33 those hits start to add up. Rypien is nothing more than a guy on the bench.
Talent -Rypien is basically a rookie entering his 3rd year. He has only 1 start which came for the Bronco’s back in 2020. In that game, he threw 2 touchdowns but also 3 interceptions. The coaching staff saw something in him to make him the backup over Johnson who is a 14-year vet. He lacks the NFL experience and probably skill to be a viable starter for fantasy. He will benefit from the solid-skill position players in Denver like Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy but the team will probably lean heavily on the run game if Wilson misses time.
Jarrett Stidham (Las Vegas Raiders) D4
Opportunity – Derek Carr is 31 heading into his 9th year as an NFL quarterback. He has never really played on a really good team. But do you know how many games he has missed in his 8-year career? TWO. Two that’s it and you have to go back to 2017 and 2016 to find those. He hasn’t missed a game in 4 years despite getting sacked 146 times over that span. The man is a workhorse. So there is very little hope that Jarrett Stidham sees the field.
Talent – Ohh how we all thought Jarrett Stidham was going to be Tom Brady‘s replacement. Stidham is now just riding with his former OC in Josh McDaniels who brought him to Las Vegas to help others learn his system. Stidham hasn’t had an opportunity to show what he can do on the field outside of preseason games. But even in those, he isn’t setting the scoreboard on fire. He gets a bump up just because of the talent around him. When you have one of the best WR in the game in Davante Adams and one of the best tight ends in Darren Waller to throw to you can still probably manage not horrible fantasy numbers. I would stay away if he gets the start until you see what a week of him under center looks like.
Chase Daniels (Los Angeles Chargers) D3
Opportunity – Justin Herbert may have been forced to start his NFL career sooner than the Chargers wanted but it has been a blessing in disguise. He is ascending to the top of the NFL and fantasy QB rankings. There is little concern that he will miss games. He doesn’t have a huge rushing upside where he is outside the pocket taking hard hits on the run. He has a solid O-line that keeps him well protected. Chase Daniels will likely never see the field. Easton Stick made the 53-man roster as the 3rd QB.
Talent – Over under 10 touchdowns in Chase Daniels 13 year NFL career? If you took the under you would be correct. he has 8. He also has 7 interceptions. Unlike some of the others on this list, Daniels has never had time as a consistent starter in the league. He has stuck around due to his solid work ethic and mental capacities. He has learned from guys like Drew Brees and Andy Reed. The weapons at his disposal on the offense are good but not great. It would be a struggle for him to give you a fantasy production that you would be happy with if you start him.
Case Keenum (Buffalo Bills) C2
Opportunity – There is no way that Case Keenum sees the field except for blowout wins and kneel downs unless Josh Allen gets hurt. Having over 100 rushing attempts the past 3 seasons does put Allen in harm’s way more than some quarterbacks. He has a solid offensive line that hasn’t allowed too many sacks and that also is in part to him taking off when the play breaks down. Keenum to me is the type of guy I would throw on my bench if I have an extra roster spot on Sunday mornings just in case.
Talent – When you have a ten-year vet who only got one full year as a starter you are dealing with someone who can pick up different offensive and can fill in when needed. That’s what the Bills have with Keenum. he will still have one of the best wide receivers in Stefon Diggs to catch the ball as well as solid other options in Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox. I don’t think Keenum will be lighting the fantasy world on fire if he has to play for an extended period. He’s easily a streamable option and could see some top 10 numbers against weaker secondary especially if he has a few weeks to get in sync with the offense.
Brian Hoyer (New England Patriots) D4
Opportunity – Brian Hoyer is just one of those guys that seem to always be around, especially in New England. Hoyer won’t see the field as long as second-year QB Mac Jones stays healthy. Bill Belichick will want to continue Jones’s progression and will keep him out there to battle through even when it’s tough. As a pretty steady pocket passer with little rushing upside, there isn’t a worry about Jones taking big shots. Rookie Bailey Zappe makes the team as the third man
Talent – Hoyer is well not great. He has the experience after being around for 13 seasons, much of it spent with the patriots. By all accounts, he is a great teacher for Mac Jones and understands the Patriot way. Even in his prime as the Browns QB in 2014, he played in 14 games and had 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Not the type of production you want for fantasy. Considering that the Pats don’t have super great receiving options who can bail out Hoyer if he does make an off-target throw means he will most likely stay on waivers.
Teddy Bridgewater (Miami Dolphins) B1
Opportunity – Teddy Bridgewater continues his career as a backup to Tua Tagovailoa after being the starter for the Broncos in 2021. It appears that the Dolphins are all in on seeing if Tua can be the man in Miami. There is some concern that if Tua doesn’t play well we could see a switch later in the season to Bridgewater. The Dolphins recently lost some draft picks due to tampering surrounding them trying to recruit Tom Brady multiple times over the past 2 years. It shows they aren’t 100% behind him as the long-term plan and a season that is heading towards a losing record could spell the end of his tenure under center. part of the tampering allegations also included that owner Stephen Ross wasn’t against the idea that a better draft pick was better for the franchise than that year’s record. You also have to count that Tua did not play the full season in 2021 and if an injury occurs Bridgewater will come in and could force the dolphins to hold Tua till he’s 100% healthy over rushing him back. Exciting rookie Skylar Thompson waits as the 3rd string guy.
Talent -. I think Bridgewater got a bad deal in Denver. He had a decent year in 2021. He threw for 18 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions in 14 games. He wasn’t winning anyone’s fantasy weeks but was also on a run-first team. The Dolphins are set to throw the ball. With Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki out there to catch passes, Bridgewater can easily succeed in the Florida heat. He is a pretty accurate passer ranking 14th in 2021 so he can certainly deliver the ball to his playmakers and have success. He will be a very solid fantasy option and a hot ticket on waivers should he get the chance to start a game or two. Skyler Thompson should be added in dynasty leagues as a deep stash
Joe Flacco (New York Jets) B1
It looks like Joe Flacco may be starting the season as Wilson recovers from his knee injury but most expect Wilson back sooner rather than later
Opportunity -. Zach Wilson is going to have to show the Jets and the world what he has this year if he wants to keep his starting job. With veteran Joe Flacco behind him, Wilson will have to make a step in the right direction. He had an abysmal start to his rookie year throwing 4 touchdowns and 9 touchdowns in his first 5 games before he was injured. After coming back he was 5 and 2 respectively so there is reason to hope for brighter days. It’s the guy the Jets wanted in the draft in 2021 so they might just roll with him through the struggles but if he starts the year as he did in 21 they could just move on. Mike White is also waiting in the wings.
Talent – Reports have said Joe Flacco has had a great training camp. At 37 years old the former Super Bowl-winning QB still has what it takes to manage a team and win games in his one-and-half games last season he had 3 touchdowns and no interceptions before getting hurt. If he holds off Mike White and is the true backup to Wilson he could give the coaches something to think about if the offense struggles. They have loaded up on talent in the past 2 drafts with players like Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Elijah Moore, and Garrett Wilson. It’s a group of skill positions that are set to have a QB succeed. Zach Wilson is the one that the Jets coaches and fans want to see but it could easily be Flacco or even Mike White.
Joshua Dobbs (Cleveland Browns) C4
Opportunity – Let me start with I’m writing this as if Jacoby Brissett is the starter all season. If Brissett was the backup he would be a D1. I don’t see a world where the Browns look to make a change at QB if Brissett struggles. It’s not like Joshua Dobbs is a young player who they may want to see that they have. He has been around for 5 years and never really played. If the Browns play without Deshaun Watson for the season they will take that they have and roll with it. It’s not full-on tanking but I don’t think their level of expected wins will be high.
Talent – Dobbs has zero touchdown passes in his 5-year career. He only has 17 attempts. He has never really had a chance to play and that’s probably because he doesn’t have what it takes. he had okay stats in college at Tennessee. The Browns are a run-first team with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. They have Amari Cooper but after that, its names we are all waiting to break out. Guys like Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, and rookie David Bell. Even with David Njoku at the tight end, it’s not the great receiving core that can carry a subpar and inexperienced passer like Dobbs.
Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers) A2
Opportunity – Another AFC North team with me predicting who the starter is. I think Mitch Trubisky gets the nod at the start of the season but the leash is going to be short. When the Steelers took Kenny Pickett in the 1st round of the NFL draft it was a sign they were going to give him the keys to the franchise sooner rather than later. They have a week 9 bye so the Steelers could use that as an opportunity to give the talented rookie half a season to see what he can do. His opportunity could come earlier if Trubisky shows some of the bad decision-making that got him ousted from Chicago. I don’t think Mason Rudolph has a shot at starting but has seen playing time the past 3 years.
Talent – Kenny Pickett will benefit from a good team around him. He has plenty of weapons in the passing game including Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool. Both have shown they can be a top 10 wide receiver in the league. The Steelers also drafted George Pickens this year to add to last year’s draftees Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth. For a Qb who didn’t have the greatest completion percentage in college (62.4), it will be great to have pass catchers who can go get the ball and a very solid running game. Pickett also has some upside with his legs even if doesn’t fake slide. he had 13 rushing touchdowns in his last 2 college seasons. As a 5-year college player, he has the maturity we don’t often see in rookies. Is only 3 years younger than Trubisky who has 5 years of NFL experience. Don’t let the small hands scare you off from possibly stashing Pickett on your bench in fantasy drafts or scooping him up around week 7
Brandon Allen (Cincinnati Bengals) D3
Opportunity – Joe Burrow is the now and the future in Cincinnati. they have built the team around him and expect him to be under center for a long time. Burrow did get sacked the most in 2021. Sacked 51 times. That’s a ton. The Bengals re-tooled the O line to hopefully keep Burrow upright and keep Brandon Allen on the sideline holding a clipboard. It’s the formula that took them to the Super Bowl in 2021 and they have every intention of repeating as AFC champs.
Talent – Brandon Allen has had some games to show what he is capable of. He played in week18 of the 2021 season. Most of the starters were rested for that game and he posted 136 yards and 1 touchdown. While Burrow was out in 2019 Allen got 5 games as a starter with mixed results. His best game was 371 yards and 2 touchdowns and his worst was 48 yards and 2 interceptions. Given the mixed bag of results, he would be a risky fill-in. Even with the tremendous weapons, the Bengals have. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd probably won’t be enough to bail out Allen except against weak defenses.
Tyler Huntley (Baltimore Ravens) B1
Opportunity – Lamar Jackson has no fear of being benched. The only thing that will keep him out of league MVP talks will be missing games due to injury. He hasn’t played a full slate since his rookie year. Could it be all the hits from running so much catching up to him? Maybe. Either way, it presents a more than likely chance that Tyler Huntley will see some playing time during the 2022 season.
Talent – Tyler Huntley flashed early in his relief of Lamar Jackson in 2021. In his first two games, he not only put up good passing stats ( combined 485 yards, 3tds, 0 ints) but also had great numbers on the ground ( 19 att, 108 yards, 2 TDS). He didn’t look so great in his last 2 games of the season where he failed to score any touchdowns and had 4 turnovers. He has a more balanced team around him this year with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards being healthy in the backfield. The loss of Marquise Brown should be overshadowed by second-year Rashod Bateman and break-out tight end Mark Andrews. Huntley will be a solid spot start for fantasy managers because of his rushing upside. He will be a hot waiver commodity when he is pressed into service. He could easily be a starter in the league.
C.J Beathard (Jacksonville Jaguars) D4
Opportunity – The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping that they have found their franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. They are also hoping that new coach Doug Peterson can correct the ship after a disastrous 2021 season. Lawrence tied for the league lead in interceptions with 17 and only had 12 touchdowns. There is no fear that he will get benched despite how badly he plays so C.J. Beathard will get good at holding the clipboard.
Talent – Beathard hasn’t seen significant playing time since 2020 when he was in San Francisco. He showed some games that gave you hope including a 3 touchdown game against Arizona. He has missed a significant portion of the preseason with an injury so there will be questions about how well he knows the new system in Jacksonville under Peterson and first-year OC Pres Taylor. I don’t think anyone is super excited about the receiving options of Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones, and Zay Jones. Even all the hype around tight-end Evan Engram won’t make Beathard a fantasy option when he plays.
Nick Foles (Indianapolis Colts) D1
Opportunity – The Colts seem to be going year to year with their Qb choices and this year it’s Matt Ryan. The former Falcon has only missed 3 games in 14 years which is amazing. He is set to be the guy for the Colts. They did bring in Nick Foles who is probably the most accomplished of all the backups. With the great O-line in front of him and his durability streak, Ryan should be under center for the whole season. The second year Sam Ehlinger made the 53-man roster so that is a name to watch later in the season and heading into next year
Talent – If Foles gets into the game I think he will light things up. First, he has a great team around him. A very solid running game with Jonathan Taylor and that O-line. He has pass-catching options in Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, and Mo Alie-Cox. In Foles’ 8 games he started for Chicago back in 2020 he had 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. That was on a not great bears team. Given the talent around him and his ability to win games, he will be the top waiver add if Ryan goes down. He has a history with head coach Frank Reich which gives him a huge head start. He is the Qb I’m adding to my roster most Sundays if I get an open spot when I can move a guy to the IR spot.
Kyle Allen (Houston Texans) D2
Opportunity – The Texans have finally gotten away from the Deshaun Watson controversy, at least until week 13 when he makes his return against the Texans. Davis Mills will be looking to make everyone forget that Watson ever played for them as he enters his second year. Kyle Allen was able to hold off Jeff Driskell even with missing time for covid. The Texans believe they found the future of the Houston franchise in Mills and will give him a full season to show what he has.
Talent – Kyle Allen has seen significant time on the field since 2019 with the Washington Football Team. He has put up some decent stats when he has played. In his two relief games in 2020, he threw for two touchdowns in both games and only had one interception. Even in 2021 in only 19 attempts he still managed a touchdown. He is an efficient and effective passer who can come in and be good. He is new to the Texans so he will have to build the chemistry with Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, and Rex Burkhead to be relevant for fantasy but he should be able to do that. Dameon Pierce should be locked and loaded to carry the team out of the backfield so there will be less pressure on Mills and Allen behind center
Malik Willis (Tennessee Titans) C1
Opportunity – The future in Tennessee is Malik Willis but Ryan Tannehill is still the hear and now. The Titans have been not just a playoff team the past few years but always in the discussion as the 1 seed in the AFC. Willis will have to wait for his opportunity to lead the franchise. Even if Tannehill struggles he would have to completely fall off a cliff skills-wise for the coaches to consider switching to the rookie.
Talent – Willis at one point was being talked about as the possible number 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. He dominated in college as a dual-threat Qb. He has shown the same things this year in the preseason. He comes to a team that is run first with Derrick Henry. They overhauled their pass-catching options trading AJ Brown to the Eagles, signing Robert Woods, and drafting Treylon Burks. It’s a solid cast around the quarterback so Willis will be just fine if he sees snaps this season.
Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers) B1
Opportunity – How times have changed. Everyone was saying that Jimmy Garoppolo would be traded or cut and would no way be a 49er once the season starts. He then goes out and restructures his deal to be the backup to Trey Lance. It does seem to be Lance’s team but this does open the door for the team to change if Lance struggles. It’s very similar to the Dolphin’s situation in 2020 when they drafted Tua Tagovailoa and went back and forth between him and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 49ers also retained Brock Purdy on the roster.
Talent – Jimmy G deserves to be a starter in the NFL. He lead the 49ers to the super bowl in 2019 and the NFC championship game in 2021. He is a low-volume passer who doesn’t always rack up the yards or touchdowns but just wins games. He is the perfect example of a Qb that is good for real football but not great for fantasy football. He has a good team around him with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle who have all been there for his successful years. He is a must-add if he gets to start games. He is a low-end Qb1 when playing.
Colt McCoy (Arizona Cardinals) D2
Opportunity – Kyler Murray signed a new deal to be the franchise quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals for the foreseeable future. They retained veteran Colt McCoy to be the backup again in 2022. He got some extended again in 2021 filling in for Kyler in 3 games. it was the first time in his 3 year career that Kyler has missed time so there shouldn’t be any fears of him not playing a full season. His rushing does leave him up for some extra hit which isn’t ideal.
Talent – McCoy played well in his 3-game stint as starting quarterback. He threw for 3 touchdowns and only 1 interception in those games. He is a 12-year veteran who has been around the league. He is a highly efficient quarterback who had weapons around him. Marquise Brown and Zach Ertz will be there all season and DeAndre Hopkins will be back in week 7. McCoy will be a serviceable streaming quarterback option if he gets playing time. You won’t be drafting him but will certainly be picked up on waivers.
John Wolford (Los Angeles Rams) C4
Opportunity – When you use your draft picks to go get a guy like Matthew Stafford you don’t have the chance to bring along a young guy. And even if you did you aren’t going to bench the guy who just won you a super bowl. Stafford is locked into his starting job. Despite always having nagging injuries and starting the 2022 year with some elbow issues Stafford isn’t going anywhere. John Wolford is the backup and looks to be holding off Bryce Perkins.
Talent – Wolford only has 42 NFL passing attempts to his name in his four years as an NFL player that has no touchdowns but 2 interceptions. You could argue that we don’t know what he has to offer but if he had anything the Rams wouldn’t have traded away so much for Stafford. If Wolford or Perkins for that matter gets into the game they have some great weapons around them. A solid running game with Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson will take the pressure off. Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson can run pretty much any route imaginable and get separation which will compensate for the lackluster skills of Wolford and Perkins. Either might be a streaming option against weak defenses due to the weapons around them. For now, leave them on your waiver wire.
Drew Lock (Seattle Seahawks) A2
Opportunity – It came down to the last week of the preseason for head coach Pete Carrol to name Geno Smith the starter in Seattle. It’s not a resounding endorsement especially when they were tied to trade rumors all offseason. Drew Lock will probably see time under center this year. It seems like the Seahawks are not planning on being all that competitive and looking to have a high draft pick for the projected QB heavy 2022 draft class.
Talent – Lock has talent. We just don’t see it every game. Looking back at his 2019 season where he started 12 games, he had some good and some bad. The good include weeks with 4 touchdowns and 3 touchdowns but also included games with 1 TD and four interceptions and a zero td and 2 into the game. He just hasn’t been able to put it together week in and week out. He has a solid receiving core with D.K. Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett. he also has Noah Fant who came over with him in the trade for Russell Wilson. In deep bench leagues, I would consider stashing Lock after a few weeks because you never know. If he gets declared the starter he will be a top waiver add. The upside
Trevor Siemian (Chicago Bears) D2
Opportunity – Despite not surrounding him with any sort of competent offensive weapons the Bears are going to keep Justin Fields out there all year. The new coaching regime needs to know what they have in Fields. There is a slim chance that they make a QB change due to poor play. Injury on the other hand is a real concern. Fields were tied for 10th last year in sacks despite only playing in 12 games. There is always a chance he starts to run and we have seen that be a detriment to a QBs health. If Fields continues to get sacked at the pace he did in 2021 I have very little hope he plays all 17 games. Trevor Siemian was brought in as a veteran who can step in and play much as he did for the Saints in 2021.
Talent – Siemian finds himself on his 5th team. He wasn’t even in the league in 2020. Despite that last season he played in 6 games and had 11 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Not horrible numbers for a backup. That would put him on a 17-game pace of 31 touchdowns and 8.5 interceptions. Those numbers would put him in the early teens of QB rankings. He will suffer from the same issues that Fields has. A really bad offensive line, subpar wide receivers, and a new coaching staff. If Siemian can build a repour with guys like Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet then he will be okay when he starts. He will probably have great chemistry with one of the other wideouts from second-team practices who can slide into the starting role when Siemian starts. He would be a solid replacement for Fields and your fantasy team. The drop-off in production between the two will be minimal and he will be a good play in super-flex leagues.
Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers) C3
Opportunity – Back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers came back after an offseason where it looked like his time in Green and Gold was done. He is still playing at a high level and there is no risk of him ever getting benched. he is no spring chicken at 38 years old heading into his 18th season and 14th as a full-time player. Not calling for an injury but age catches up with everyone except Tom Brady.
Talent – I want to believe in Jordan Love but it seems that even the Packers might have given up on him being a capable NFL Qb. They choose to work things out with Aaron Rodgers instead of turning the page to Love. The Packers lost Davante Adams so their receiving weapons around Love would be less than ideal and would probably revert to a run-first team if loved was pressed into service. In his 1 game in 2021 he went 19-34 for one touchdown and one INT. With Allen Lazard, Romeo Doubs, Randall Cobb and Robert Tonyan catching the ball Love will be an easy stream candidate if Rodgers goes down
Nick Mullens (Minnesota Vikings) D4
Opportunity – Outside of missing a game because of Covid protocols in 2021 and the last game rest in 2019 Kirk Cousins hasn’t missed a game since 2014. That’s some amazing consistency for a guy entering his 11th NFL season. He hasn’t led the Vikings too much success but still has them in the thick of the playoff hunt every year. The veteran Qb doesn’t have to worry about fellow vet Nick Mullens taking his job. With the release of Kellen Mond, it looks like the team is winning now with no real plan.
Talent – In 10 games for the 49ers back in 2020 Mullens had an up-and-down season. He threw a touchdown in every game he started except 1 and finished with 12 TDS and interceptions for the year. He lacked yardage which will eat into his fantasy value. The team around them is very good and could make up for their weaknesses. Justin Jefferson is one of the best wideouts in the game. Adam Thielen looks to be back to his old self in training camp and Dalvin Cook coming out of the backfield means the Vikings can have a balanced attack and don’t have to rely on the backup’s arm to win games. I would still be avoiding either unless you are completely desperate.
Nate Sudfeld (Detroit Lions) D4
Opportunity – When the Lions traded for Jared Goff last season it was a sign they were taking a more win now approach than building for the future. When they didn’t draft a guy it was a sign that Goff was the guy that head coach Dan Campbell wanted. The fact that they cut both Tim Boyle and David Blough shows that they aren’t afraid of what Goff is. Nate Sudfeld signs on to be the backup in Detroit and doesn’t have to deal with the hard knocks cameras
Talent – when you get cut from one team and then sign with another team you are already behind the 8-ball because you are entering a new system. When you only have 37 passing attempts to your name after being in the league for 6 years and being on now your 4th team you probably don’t have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. Even with a dynamic pass-catching back in D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown, Travis Kelce, and eventually, Jameson Williams catching passes it still won’t be pretty with Sudfeld in the game. He is someone you should avoid.
(Dallas Cowboys) D4
Opportunity – Currently there is no backup on the roster behind Dak Prescott. Both Will Grier and Copper Rush are on the practice squad.
Talent – When they cut everyone and then resign them to the practice squad means that no one really stands out.
Gardner Minshew (Philadelphia Eagles) C1
Opportunity – Philadelphia is often considered a run-first team. That could change this season with the addition of A.J. Brown. What won’t change is the rushing ability of Jalen Hurts. He led all QBs with 139 rushing attempts in 2021. That puts him at a huge risk of injury. It was a late off-season trade last year to bring in Gardner Minshew but the Eagles must have recognized they needed something better behind Hurts. That all holds for 2022. Hurts will run the ball, Hopefully, less than 139 times, and will be putting more wear and tear on his body than most quarterbacks in the league. This opens the door more for Minshew to step in as he did in week 13 last season.
Talent – Minshew has been a very capable quarterback in the NFL. He protects the ball, only throwing 12 interceptions in three years over 27 games. In his two games last season he threw for two touchdowns each. He lacks the yardage totals which have probably kept him from getting and keeping a starting QB job but can be a great fill-in. He is easily a startable fantasy player if he comes in. With the weapons, he now has around him in Dallas Goedert, DeVonta Smith, and A.J. Brown, Minshew has plenty of options to pass to. I would be projecting him as a high-end QB2 and a top streaming candidate if he gets playing time. I can certainly see him being a low-end QB1 in some weeks.
Tyrod Taylor (New York Giants) B2
Opportunity – Tyrod Taylor has been around for 11 years. He has become the go-to guy for teams looking to transition to a new QB. Now he ends up on the Giants who are looking to turn around the career of Daniel Jones. Jones hasn’t played a full season so far in his 3-year career so there is a more than likely chance that Tyrod gets some playing time. Jones has also been less than stellar in his time under center in New York. With Brian Daboll coming in as coach there is hope that Jones can turn it around. Even if he doesn’t the team will probably roll with him when healthy. For worse or for better.
Talent – Tyrod himself is okay. He doesn’t have the rushing upside he had in his younger years. He also doesn’t have the best weapons around him. Underperforming Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, rookie Wan’Dale Robinson, and stalwarts Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton leave a lot to be desired in terms of weapons for any QB for the Giants. Tyrod’s skills and years of experience make him a low-end QB2 if he were to get more than one week of starting time. Last year with Houston where he played 6 games he averaged 13.96 points per game.
Taylor Heinicke / Sam Howell (Washington Football Team) B2
Opportunity – Carson Wentz is getting a chance to start over, again. This time for the Washington Commanders. The Commanders made the trade for Wentz over some other QB options that were available during the offseason so they seem to be able to live with his, at times, erratic throws and poor decision making. They kept Taylor Heinicke after he started most of the games last season and had stats very similar to Wentz. They also drafted Sam Howell who some believed was the best QB in the draft. It’s a lot of pressure on Wentz and the team could be forced to make the switch if things are heading south.
Talent – Both Howell and Heinicke can be decent starters in the NFL. We have already seen it from Heinicke who did it last year and led the team to a 7-10 record but scored 20 touchdowns. He simply had too many interceptions to keep the team in contention most weeks. There were some bright spots where he had two games with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. His familiarity with the team and the system probably gives him the early season leg up over rookie Sam Howell who could be the future. With weapons like Terry McLaurin, J.D. McKissic, and Jahan Dotson both the backups can probably produce in relief of Wentz. They could be streaming plays the weeks they are starting.
Andy Dalton (New Orleans Saints) B1
Opportunity – Jameis Winston is the starter but has a foot issue that could linger into the start of the season or could flair up during. He hasn’t played a full season since 2019. Andy Dalton could see playing time this year. I don’t think the Saints look to move off Winston and are probably okay riding him when healthy even if he reverts to his 33/30 TD/int ratio he had back in 2019. They converted Taysom Hill to tight end.
Talent – Andy Dalton is still capable of producing in the NFL. he was the starter in Chicago last year before getting injured. He posted 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 8 games. He didn’t have the best weapons around him then and probably sees a slight upgrade in New Orleans. With Michael Thomas finally returning to the field, rookies Chris Olave taking the top off defenses, and Alvin Kamara catching balls out of the backfield it gives Dalton plenty of options if he does play. He could be a streamable QB for fantasy and a low-end starter in 2 QB leagues.
Blaine Gabbert (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) C2
Opportunity – Will this year be the year that Father time finally catches up with Tom Brady? How many years have we asked that question? Brady hasn’t missed a game in 5 years. At age 45, amazingly, he can keep going. There is little chance that Blaine Gabbert sees time this year. They still have Kyle Trask on the roster so he could get into games later in the year.
Talent – Gabbert hasn’t seen any real playing time since week 16 of the 2020 season when he took over after halftime. Brady had already passed for 4 touchdowns on the Lions. Gabbert came in and posted 143 yards on 15 passes and two of them for touchdowns. He has solid weapons around him in Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and Chris Godwin so there is hope that if he was the starter he could have qb2 level production. He would be an interesting waiver player if Brady does miss time.
Sam Darnold (Carolina Panthers) B4
Opportunity – The Carolina Panthers traded for baker Mayfield in hopes that he can be the Qb they have been missing since Cam Newton. baker has in his career been hit or miss often playing through injuries that have limited his upside. If that trend continues there is a possibility that Sam Darnold takes back over. Darnold had every chance to secure the starting job last year but failed to do so
Talent – Posting 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions your first 9 weeks of the season doesn’t do much to bolster the coach’s confidence in you. It should also scare away any fantasy manager looking to stream Darnold if he gets back in the game. His inability to have high-production games make him a low-end replacement. Most of his good weeks in 2021 came when he rushed in touchdowns. Even with the likes of D.J. Moore, Robbie Anderson, and Christian McCaffery catching passes we have seen enough from Darnold to know what he is. What he is, is the type of player to stay away from unless there are no other options.
Desmond Ridder (Atlanta Falcons) A2
Opportunity- I may have to rewrite this before the season starts. I think Desmond Ridder could end up beating out Marcus Mariota for the starting job. If Mariota holds on to the starting job he will have a short leash as Ridder will be waiting in the wings. There probably won’t be much hesitation to switch as Ridder represents the future of the franchise and Mariota is probably headed to a backup role after this season anyway. With a good class of incoming rookies, the Falcons might want to see what they have in Ridder before the season is over
Talent- There isn’t much that needs to change in the offense if Ridder were to go under center. Both he and Mariota have a rushing upside that allows them to make plays, especially around the goal line. The weapons they have around them are up and coming with the second-year tight end Kyle Pitts and rookie Drake London leading the way. They also boast 9-year break-out Cordarrelle Patterson who provides both rushing and pass-catching abilities to balance the offseason. Whoever is starting for the Falcons will be in talks must weeks as a streaming candidate and if Ridder gets multiple weeks he could sneak into a top 15 role for fantasy/
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